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Organic Solar Cells With Cobalt Electrolyte Outperforming Silicon PVs

P type dye sensitive solar cell 225x300 Organic Solar Cells With Cobalt Electrolyte Outperforming Silicon PVsThere’s no way around it. Photovoltaics, while incredibly energy efficient, are expensive. In sharp contrast, dye-based solar cells seem to be a cheaper alternative to traditional solar cells. Looking especially promising are tandem cells made up of a conventional n-type and a p-type dye-sensitive solar cell.

P-type cells are different than traditional n-type dye sensitive cells. The p-type cells process is reversed from the standard n-type process. A photocathode contains a special dye and a p-type semiconductor.

The dye, activated by light, pulls electrons out of the valence band of a p-type semiconductor, which transfers “electron holes”—positive charges, (putting the p in p-type) from the dye. Then, the redox mediator takes the electrons from the dye and hands them over to the counter electrode.

Scientists have determined combining both an n-type and a p-type dye-sensitized solar cell to create a tandem cell may be the way to proceed.

However, the process needs more work because the performance of the p-type cells is still lower than the n-type. Researchers from Monash University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Australia), and University of Ulm (Germany) have determined that using a different redox mediator may improve performance significantly.

The redox potential is signification lower and devices have an energy efficiency of 1.3% while previous systems only had a maximum of 0.41%.

Time will tell if the p-type dye-sensitized solar cell with cobalt-based redox mediator really affects the efficiency of solar cells, but if so, it may lead to a completely new way of designing them.

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About the author

Leigh is a Senior Technical Communicator working in the energy sector in Dallas, Texas. Prior to her work in the energy industry, Leigh spent years specializing in life saving engineering projects for the US Department of Defense. In her spare time, Leigh pursues her passions of environmental awareness, vegan baking, dog rescue, and defending the place of art, literature, and music in a world that values science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


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